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Thailand delays decision on NASA use of air base

first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 That is too late for the project, which was to have been conducted out of U-Tapao naval air base in August and September. NASA had set the end of June as the deadline for Thailand’s decision on the project. The Cabinet could have made a decision Tuesday, but it might have been open to legal challenge as needing parliamentary approval.U-Tapao was a major base for U.S. bombing missions during the Vietnam War, and some critics have charged that the NASA project is a threat to Thai sovereignty and might also anger China. The U.S. military has continued to use the base for refueling and as a staging area for humanitarian relief operations, including those conducted after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Myanmar’s 2008 Cyclone Nargis. The base is located in Chonburi province, 190 kilometers (118 miles) southeast of Bangkok.Yingluck told reporters the Cabinet ministers had decided to hold a parliamentary debate on the issue to “create transparency and a fact-checking process to clear up all the doubts” that skeptics have about the plan.The project, called the “Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study,” was to use satellites, aircraft and ground missions to study how air circulation during the monsoon affected the climate and air quality in South and Southeast Asia. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths “It would be a pity for us to lose a chance to develop a climate prediction capacity that would allow us to have more accurate information,” Yingluck said.Critics of the project include nationalists and the opposition Democrat Party. There have been allegations, unsupported by evidence, that the project would be a cover for U.S. military and intelligence activities, and could harm Thailand’s relations with China. NASA and scientists supporting the project have pointed out in rebuttal that its details were openly available.“We chose U-Tapao because it provided an optimum combination of location, facilities and access,” Hal Maring, a coordinator of the NASA project, told the English-language Bangkok Post, emphasizing that “NASA is a civilian agency and has no connection with the United States military.”Critics also claim to see a sinister U.S. hand in a separate plan to set up a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief center at U-Tapao to serve as a regional aid hub in case of natural catastrophes.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressBANGKOK (AP) – Thailand will not meet a U.S.-imposed deadline for a decision on whether to allow the American space agency NASA to use a key air base for a climate study that critics fear could be a cover for military purposes.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Tuesday that her Cabinet had agreed to have lawmakers debate the NASA project on the impact of Asian emissions on clouds, climate and air quality, but only after Parliament reconvenes Aug. 1. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

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Rural outsourcer brings hope to remote village

first_img“There’s a buzz around the place that didn’t exist before,” Madhavan said.The B2R staff in Simayal work above an old flour mill in a maze of rooms that had been intended as cramped housing for poor families. In the narrow, long central office, staffers sitting at small computer desks lining the walls work on a project for a legal publisher turning scans of court cases into searchable databases. In another room, women take calls on behalf of a family planning group. In another, staffers collect sales data for cellphone companies. The kitchen has been turned into the server room.Outside, a steady procession of women looking aged beyond their years and dressed in threadbare clothes walk by carrying on their heads immense stacks of firewood and animal fodder they collected during hours of foraging in the forest. Their husbands and fathers tend to the apple and pear orchards.B2R and a handful of similar firms are trying to offer an alternative road map for Indian economic growth. With nearly 70 percent of the population _ 833 million people _ living in rural areas and its cities already overburdened, there is a limit to how quickly the nation can urbanize.In the meantime, rural youth need jobs and poor infrastructure makes it difficult for manufacturers to deliver them. But with an Internet connection, outsourcing companies can work anywhere. The Monitor report puts that salary in line with that of other rural outsourcers and significantly higher than many other rural jobs. However, the report warns that future cost-cutting could create “digital sweatshops.”Bhuwan Butholia, 28, who used to make 8,000 rupees ($160) with overtime in an auto parts factory 150 kilometers (90 miles) away, said the lower salary at B2R was a reasonable trade-off for being able to look after his parents and live with his wife and 5-month-old baby.His mother disagreed.“We were poor. We are still poor,” said Hira Devi, 58.While Internet-based companies like B2R can provide some relief in poor farming areas, few believe it will eliminate India’s need to build up urban infrastructure and attract more of its people to the economic hubs in the cities.“It would go against almost all patterns of settlement. This idea that India can be a very developed nation and have half its people living in its villages … to my mind it’s kind of romantic. Maybe this stuff happens, but it’s unlikely,” said Partha Mukhopadhyay, a senior research fellow at Delhi’s Center for Policy Research.Still, the impact of bringing respectable jobs into the village has been enormous, said Madhavan, from the local development group. Other young people have come up with ideas for setting up their own businesses. Some families are adding rooms to houses to rent out to B2R workers who live too far away to commute. And directly across from the office has risen a mini-mall with snack shop, luncheonette and welding shop. It’s a sign, Madhavan said, of faith in the future. Associated PressSIMAYAL, India (AP) – They come together each morning from the sloping forests. Some walk for more than an hour along muddy footpaths past terraced farms stacked like soft green steps. Some race their new motorbikes down narrow, cracked roads cut into the hillsides.The team of young men and women wear ID cards on lanyards around their necks and have that rarest of commodities in rural India, a company job. Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project “It was like a dead snake in the ground,” he said.While he waited months for the state-owned telecom company to activate the line, he made do with achingly slow mobile data networks. Even now, he uses a wireless system that operates over radio frequencies as a backup.They paid to upgrade the village’s phone and electricity systems, installed a generator to work through the daily power cuts, gave employees intensive English and skills training and opened for business three years ago. They replicated that plan in four other villages in the region, and employ nearly 250 people in total.The B2R workers begin each morning with a prayer, a regimen of calisthenics, the national anthem and an ever-changing roster of games. Women once too shy to speak in public in this conservative society, now tackle male co-workers and talk trash during a raucous game of kabaddi. A few wear jeans in place of the traditional baggy salwar kameez.Jagdish Sanwal, who had left town to work for Nokia, came back for B2R. Other men said they had been planning to leave when a job opened up. Most of the women said that for the first time they had options other than marriage. Families once wholly dependent on the vagaries of the harvest, now had a reliable income. “You get work over the Internet, you work it over the Internet, you send it back over the Internet,” said Dhiraj Dolwani, CEO of B2R. “It’s a window to the world.”Less than 5 percent of rural Indians have ever used the Internet and many have never even heard of it, according to a recent study by the IMRB market research firm. Half the staff in B2R’s office here said they had never seen a computer before this job.The government is trying to change that, spending $6.5 billion to lay fiber optic cable to each of the country’s 250,000 towns. India’s innovation czar, Sam Pitroda, says it will open up a flood of rural development. It can bring telemedicine to villages without doctors, better teaching tools to remote schools and jobs in banking, insurance and other information fields to towns currently dependent on agriculture.The rural outsourcers are the pioneers. With just over 5,000 jobs, they make up a tiny fraction of India’s $16.9 billion outsourcing industry, but trade group Nasscom estimates they will account for 84,000 jobs in five years.Rural Shores, one of the bigger companies, employs 1,300 employees in 12 centers across eight states. By 2020, CEO Murali Vullaganti dreams of employing 200 people in each of the nation’s 500 rural districts. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day They work mainly in data processing for a 3-year-old business called B2R that is using the spread of the Internet to transport India’s outsourcing boom from metropolitan Bangalore and the suburbs of New Delhi to this speck of a farming village in the Himalayan foothills.Before B2R arrived, Simayal was being drained of its bright young men as they left for cities to search for work. Its women had little option but to wed right out of school. Nearly everyone’s survival was tied to the whim of the rains and prayers for a strong harvest.Now, men are staying. Some who left have returned. Many women have put off marriage to work and are helping to support their families. Other new businesses are opening up.The 50 new jobs B2R created brought a “glimmer of hope” to the 110 families in this cluster of farming hamlets barely touched by India’s economic transformation over the past two decades, said V.K. Madhavan, who has spent the past eight years running Chirag, a local development organization.Deepa Nayal’s two sons persuaded the 47-year-old widow to retire from her 1,890 rupee ($38) a month teaching job after they got hired. Mohan Singh Bisht, 20, helped his family build a six-room house. Khasti Fartiyal, 22, started paying for one of her sisters to go to college and bought an essential, expensive piece of gold jewelry for another sister’s wedding. Many bought refrigerators, new clothes and motorbikes. Many are proud just to help buy food. 0 Comments   Share   (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “It may take a little longer, but that is our goal: 100,000 rural youth,” he said.B2R’s Dolwani said he is doing nothing more than pushing forward the entire premise of the outsourcing industry: Moving the work to where it can be done cheapest.Growing disillusioned with his former life as an executive at urban outsourcing firms, Dolwani and a partner toyed with starting their own company in the hills of the northern state of Uttarakhand, where they had routinely vacationed to escape the city.There was a ready supply of educated, frustrated youth, but could they do proofreading and data entry? Dolwani passed around a book of short stories by American teenage girls and gave an impromptu comprehension quiz to local youths, whose mother tongue is Kumaoni, second language is Hindi and who began studying English in the sixth grade. They had potential, he said.B2R rented the only building of any real size in town and Dolwani began what he assumed would be the long, costly process of connecting to a faraway Internet line.The fiber optic cable, they were told, was running right under their office, laid during an earlier program to spread Internet access, but never turned on, Dolwani said. As she peels garlic and watches field hockey on TV with her father and brother, Shoba Bisht, 20, straddles the traditional woman’s role of domestic labor and the man’s role of earning money and being doted on.Her mother packs her lunch for work and gives her time to rest after, but Bisht still helps cook dinner. She does laundry on her day off, but no longer collects wood in the forest.Two years ago when she was offered a B2R job, her brother laughed and told her he would never let her take it.“In my family, girls are not allowed to go out for work,” said Bisht, whose last name is common in the region.Her mother forced him to relent.Since then, her family has added a wide brick kitchen and concrete living room to the small two mud rooms of its house. They bought a TV. She paid hospital bills for her brother, kept her family from having to borrow money at 60 percent interest from a loan shark and, in an incredible role reversal, helped pay for her brother’s wedding.Perhaps more stunning in a society where daughters are often viewed as an economic burden, Bisht is putting money away to pay for her eventual dowry.Dewan Singh Bisht said he turns to his daughter whenever there is a financial emergency. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “You couldn’t imagine this as a possibility five years ago,” he said. “But today it’s happened.”___Follow Ravi Nessman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ravinessman 5 ways to recognize low testosterone “I am very proud of her,” he said.Listening to her husband, Devki Bisht, 44, cries quietly as she squats over an electric stove, heating milk for tea.She wants her daughter to be independent, to have a better life.“It’s not just a man’s right to go out and work,” she said.Though they have talked about marrying her off, Devki Bisht now says she is prepared to wait years for the right family, one that will let her daughter keep working.B2R faced some resistance when it moved into Simayal. Some families didn’t want their daughters to work with men. Local youth, angry they didn’t get jobs in the first round of screening, vandalized the office, Dolwani said. The company held a town meeting to ease the tension, and now holds similar gatherings before opening new centers.It hopes to attract clients by charging at least 25 percent less than urban competitors, Dolwani said.Rent here is 15 times lower than in the city, electricity is cheaper and with little competition for staff, turnover last year was just 4 percent. Urban outsourcers face 40 percent turnover, according to a report by the Monitor Group.While workers in the Delhi suburbs make about 8,000 rupees ($160) a month, B2R’s start at about 4,700 rupees ($95). Dolwani said the lower salary is justified by the lower cost of living here, and many workers say they are still saving significant portions of their salary. Top Stories Quick workouts for men Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

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Milan politician accused of mafia votebuying

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The probe of alleged vote-buying by Domenico Zambetti underscores the infiltration of the `ndrangheta organized crime syndicate in the political machine of Italy’s affluent northern Lombardy region. The `ndrangheta is based in southern Calabria, but in recent decades has increasingly penetrated the political, business and financial fabric of Milan, Italy’s financial capital, investigators say.Carabinieri Capt. Paolo Saliani said Zambetti was accused of corruption, mafia association and vote-buying from the `ndrangheta in 2010 elections. In exchange for delivering votes, the `ndrangheta expected favors from the politician, Saliani said.Emails and phone calls to Zambetti’s office weren’t returned.Italian news reports said Zambetti was the fifth commissioner in Lombardy to be placed under investigation in recent months, prompting calls from across the political spectrum for Lombardy governor Roberto Formigoni to resign. He has refused, saying only that the accusations against Zambetti are “grave” and that he has been suspended.Last month, Renata Polverini, governor of Italy’s Lazio region, which includes Rome, and a prominent leader in the party of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi party, tendered her resignation amid accusations that several local politicians misused public money, including to pay for wild soirees. Even a politician from a small anti-corruption party, Italy of Values, was forced to step down in Lazio by scandal on Wednesday.Earlier this year, Berlusconi’s one-time ally the Northern League was hit by scandal. Founder Umberto Bossi resigned in April after his son was placed under investigation for using party funds for personal use. Both men denied the charge.Organized crime penetration in local governments is not rare, and town and city councils are sometimes dissolved by national government order. The government of Reggio Calabria, a southern city that is an `ndrangheta stronghold, was dissolved on Tuesday. Three commissioners will run the city until elections in 18 months’ time.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressROME (AP) – The housing commissioner of Milan’s regional government was arrested Wednesday on accusations he paid (EURO)200,000 ($260,000) to mobsters in exchange for an election victory _ the latest in a series of scandals involving Italian public officials accused of abusing their power or profiting from their jobs.An explosion of corruption investigations in recent weeks has targeted politicians at every level, in several regions and from nearly every political party, leading to predictions that Italians may simply stay home rather than vote for an increasingly discredited political class in elections scheduled for next spring. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img
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Audiards Dheepan wins Palme dOr in upset Cannes finale

Audiards Dheepan wins Palme dOr in upset Cannes finale

first_img“This isn’t a jury of film critics,” Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”The win for “Dheepan” comes at a time when Europe is particularly attuned to the experience of immigrants, following the recent deaths of hundreds crossing the Mediterranean, seeking Italian shores. Jury members, though, said “Dheepan” was chosen for its overall strength as a film, rather than any topicality.“We all thought it was a very beautiful movie,” said Ethan Coen, calling the decision “swift.” ”Everyone had some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.”Audiard, springing to the podium at the Palais des Festivals, accepted the award with warm gratitude, bowing to the jury. He was joined by the makeshift parents of his film: Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who himself was Tamil Tiger child soldier before finding political asylum in France.“To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is exceptional,” said Audiard, who added that only receiving one from the Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Belgian filmmaking siblings, could equal it. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility CANNES, France (AP) — The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close Sunday with Jacques Audiard’s Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival’s coveted top honor, the Palme d’Or.The choice of “Dheepan,” as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching their heads. While the dapper French filmmaker has drawn widespread acclaim for films such as “A Prophet” and “Rust and Bone,” some critics were disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiard’s film. “Dheepan” is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris. Marion Cotillard poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Macbeth, at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Comments   Share   Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to “Son of Saul,” a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director L Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

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UN observers say Burundi elections were not free

first_imgRegrettably, the observers said, there was no agreement to improve these conditions and opposition parties decided to boycott the polls.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. observer mission concluded Thursday that this week’s parliamentary elections in Burundi were not “free, credible and inclusive.”A preliminary statement from the observers said the electoral process took place “in a tense political crisis” and “fundamental freedoms of participation, assembly, expression, opinion and information” suffered increasing restrictions during the campaign and as Monday’s election approached. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The mission noted that the African Union and two regional organizations expressed similar concerns.Burundi has been hit by violence since the April announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term in presidential elections set for July 15. Protesters say Nkurunziza must go because the constitution limits the president to two terms, but the president’s supporters say he is eligible for a third term because he was chosen by lawmakers — and not popularly elected — for his first term.The U.N. Security Council was briefed Thursday on Burundi by the U.N. special representative for Central Africa, the assistant secretary-general for human rights and the deputy head of the U.N. observer mission.New Zealand’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, the current council president, said members expressed concern “at the preliminary assessment that the minimum conditions for free, fair, transparent and credible elections were not met.”The Security Council authorized the U.N. mission, known as MENUB, to observe all elections in Burundi and the statement said it will continue to watch the remaining elections.From its arrival on Jan. 1, the mission said it observed media freedom restrictions and violations of human rights and other fundamental freedoms including restrictions on opposition campaigning, arbitrary detentions, and the failure to disarm youth groups aligned with political parties. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

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Pope in Paraguay after offering hope to Bolivias prisoners

Pope in Paraguay after offering hope to Bolivias prisoners

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   Bolivia’s President Evo Morales places a traditional Bolivian hat on Pope Francis’ head during the second World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Thursday, July 9, 2015. The Pope gave a speech to the delegates at the meeting, a collection of non-governmental organizations representing street sellers, indigenous groups, mining cooperatives and “cartoneros,” who sift through garbage looking for recyclable goods. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) Inside, everything has its price.“Here corruption rules and he who has money can live well while the rest suffer jammed into huts with dirt floors,” said Sirley Maria Vargas, the mother of a 21-year-old inmate accused of homicide. “With money you can have your own room, cleaning service, cable TV, air conditioning and Internet.”Inmates pay $1,000 for the right to a cell and $300 a month for individual cells, she said. Cellphones can be bought, and food and drugs are routinely smuggled in.___Bajak reported from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Associated Press writers Jacobo Garcia and Carlos Valdez contributed to this report from Santa Cruz.___Nicole Winfield on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nwinfieldFrank Bajak on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fbajakCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Francis knows Paraguay well, having ministered to Paraguayan immigrants in the slums of neighboring Argentina when he was archbishop. His affection for its people was on display upon his arrival in Asuncion, praising the Paraguayan women who were so important to the country’s recovery after a devastating regional war in the 1860s wiped out more than half the population, most of it male.He encouraged Paraguay’s moves toward a stable democracy and economic growth after the violent 1954-1989 dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. And he called for “unceasing efforts” to crack down on corruption; Paraguay, a tiny land-locked country of just under 7 million, has long had problems with government graft.“I know that there is the firm desire to banish corruption,” he told President Horacio Cartes at the presidential palace. “May there be an end to violence, corruption, drug trafficking.”The pope started the day in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he listened on as inmates told their stories of how they ended up at Palmasola and of the “judicial terrorism” that lets the wealthy bribe their way to freedom while the poor languish in squalor. Two children of inmates sat at Francis’ feet as he looked out to a mass of prisoners in central square of one of the prison’s many walled wardens. The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories Palmasola is the most notorious of Bolivia’s 32 prisons, built to detain some 800 people but housing 5,000, more than four in five still awaiting trial. Inmates have the run of the place, drugs are cheaper than on the street and money buys survival.Two years ago, 36 people died in a fierce battle between rival gangs using machetes and homemade flamethrowers. One of the victims was a 1-year-old.Monsignor Jesus Juarez, who is in charge of pastoral care for Bolivia’s prison system, drew applause from the inmates when he told Francis of the “scandal” that 84 percent of Bolivian inmates haven’t been tried and that prisons are 300 percent beyond capacity.Analia Parada broke into tears as she told the pope of all the mothers, children and grandmothers — some terminally ill — who live in Palmasola with no hope. She complained that prison administrators were “deaf” to their plight and failed to apply even the basics of Bolivian law. She accused authorities of “converting Bolivian justice into judicial terrorism directed at people of scarce economic resources who can’t buy justice.”Leonidas Rodriguez said he had watched “how they killed a companion and left him wrapped in a blanket. No authority did anything about it.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies And inmate Andres de Jesus Cespedes described his astonishment arriving at the prison to find “so many people sleeping on the ground like animals.”Bolivia has a notoriously corrupt judiciary, with some 1,000 judges and 300 prosecutors under investigation or on trial for corruption.U.S. businessman Jacob Ostreicher spent 18 months in Palmasola after being arrested for suspected money laundering. Ostreicher, who was released in 2012 when it was revealed that he had been extorted by a ring of prosecutors, judges and government lawyers, said he doubted Francis would get to see the real Palmasola.“It’s the lifers who control the prison,” he told The Associated Press. “The police officers who guard the outside of the prison push you inside the prison and you’re on your friggin’ own.”The country’s prison regimen lets inmates roam outside their cells by day. Module I has streets full of men, women and children, domestic animals, stores, restaurants, a gym, a Catholic and evangelical church and workshops. Other prison sections are less hospitable, particularly Modules 3 and 4, which hold the most dangerous inmates. Module 5 houses the infirm, most with tuberculosis. “You may be asking yourselves ‘Who is this man standing before us?’” the pope told them. “The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins.”Francis has made prison ministry a focus of his life as a priest and now pope, believing that the lowest castes of society deserve just as much dignity as everyone else. He has denounced the widespread abuse of pre-trial detention and called life sentences a “hidden death penalty.” He has met with prisoners to offer them encouragement, and as pope continued to check in on a group of Argentine inmates he ministered to when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.On Friday, he acknowledged the wretched conditions that the inmates face: overcrowding, the slow pace of justice, violence and few opportunities for education or rehabilitation. He said Bolivian institutions need to address those ills.But he urged the inmates not to despair and to not let their suffering lead to violence.“Don’t be afraid to help one another,” he said. “The devil is looking for rivalry, division, gangs.”Francis also urged prison officials and guards to rehabilitate prisoners and not humiliate them, saying prison should be a process of rehabilitation, not punishment. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Pope Francis began the third and final leg of his South American pilgrimage Friday by honoring Paraguay’s democratic progress after leaving the most outcast members of Bolivian society — inmates at its notorious Palmasola prison — with a message of hope and solidarity.Francis has sought to encourage the poorest and most marginal during his three-nation trip, and his stop in Paraguay will showcase life in the country’s flood-prone shantytowns alongside the simple popular faith of its people.last_img read more

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Official Mitsubishi may extend WWII apology to others

Official Mitsubishi may extend WWII apology to others

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Okamoto, a former diplomat, was among company officials who delivered an apology to surviving POWs and family members on Sunday in Los Angeles for about 900 Americans forced to work in Mitsubishi mines and factories.Japan invaded China before and during the war, and Chinese who were sent to work in Japan and their descendants are suing Mitsubishi for compensation in China.“We are making our best effort to come to an amicable solution with the victims,” Okamoto said.“I personally sympathize a great deal with Chinese forced laborers,” he added. “I think we will have to apologize … (and) they are demanding reparation, and that is in a court, so this will be a solution with money.”One day earlier, China’s state news agency Xinhua called the apology to Americans “selective” and accused Japan of a “double standard on wartime atrocities.”Koreans were also forced to work, but Okamoto said he believes their legal situation is different. Japan colonized Korea in 1910, so Koreans were technically Japanese citizens ordered to work as were all Japanese under a 1938 general mobilization law.A South Korean government commission on victims of forced mobilization under colonial rule estimates that 6,489 Koreans worked for Mitsubishi-owned companies, including 4,105 for Mitsubishi Mining, the predecessor company of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. The legality aside, Okamoto minced no words about the annexation, describing it as the “greatest sin” Japan committed against Korea.“The fundamental sin, as I said at the outset, was the annexation of Korea, obliterating their national identities,” he said. “We did not allow Koreans to use their own name, use their language. We even forced Shintoism on them to create second-class Japanese citizens.”___Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul contributed to this story.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your life 5 ways to recognize low testosterone TOKYO (AP) — An outside director of Mitsubishi Materials said Wednesday that the company hopes to apologize to former British, Dutch and Australian World War II POWs, and also reach an amicable agreement with Chinese forced laborers, following a landmark apology to American POWs earlier this week.“If there is such an opportunity, we will do the same apology,” Yukio Okamoto told foreign media, saying the POWs brought to Japan were subjected to inexcusable labor conditions. “What other companies will do, we don’t know. … Ours is one of those who tortured POWs most, so we have to apologize.”center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Yukio Okamoto, Outside Board Member of Mitsubishi Materials and former Special Advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister, left, and Hikaru Kimura, Senior Executive Officer Mitsubishi Materials, offer an apology as they hold hands with 94-year-old U.S. prisoner of war, James Murphy, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, July 19, 2015. Some 12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and forced to work at more than 50 sites to support imperial Japan’s war effort, and about 10 percent died, according to Kinue Tokudome, director of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs, who has spearheaded the lobbying effort for companies to apologize. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Trafalgar going inside America

first_imgPromising to go to ‘places the road doesn’t’, Trafalgar has launched their 2012 America and Canada Brochure with a focus on ‘insider’ encounters.“As the North American ‘insider’, Trafalgar is committed to providing unique, local experiences that are not found in guidebooks and would be hard to discover if travelling alone,” Trafalgar managing director Matthew Cameron-Smith said.Speaking at the launch of the brochure, which hits the market this week, the Trafalgar boss said the tour operator was looking to offer “authentic” experiences for “savvy” Australians travelling to North America.“It’s about seeing the world from the inside,” Mr Cameron-Smith said.Central to Trafalgar’s insider experiences are the Be My Guest dining inclusions, which welcome guests into the homes of American families for “local cuisine and hospitality”.   “This is slower paced, more customizable touring, that is really immersive,” Mr Cameron-Smith told e-Travel Blackboard.Expanding on its Family Experiences, Trafalgar’s new itineraries have promised “more exciting and enriching” vacation options such as the new 10-day Dude Ranchin’, Yellowstone and Glacier Roundup, ideal for families. Additionally 2012 will see Trafalgar introduce its At Leisure programme to America and Canada, a range of itineraries designed for the more independently-minded traveller, such as the 7-day Canada’s Rockies and the 8-day San Francisco & Wine Country Delights.“We have exclusive use of Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma Valley, so we’re the only tour operator that can go there,” Mr Cameron-Smith said.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard, the Trafalgar boss said he was confident the new product mix would work well in North America. “The US is a shining star … and the new experiences there will be a hit.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Trafalgar MD Matthew Cameron-Smithlast_img read more

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Qantaslink Voted Worlds Best Regional Airline

first_imgSource = Qantas Airways QantasLink, the workhorse of Australia’s regional aviation industry, has been named 2012’s ‘Regional Airline of the Year’ by leading industry journal Air Transport World – beating airlinesfrom across the globe.Air Transport World editors cited QantasLink’s longstanding commitment to delivering an extensive network and excellent customer service for remote and rugged regions of outback Australia. Chief Editor of Air Transport World, Geoffrey Thomas said, “QantasLink is more than a regional airline. It’s a lifeline to millions of Australians who live sometimes thousands of kilometres from a capital city and hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town.”“QantasLink is many things to many people. It carries tourists to resorts; farmers, social workers, teachers,medical staff and resource industry workers to the outback; and even politicians to and from the nation’s capital Canberra and has a product to match every need.” QantasLink Executive Manager Narendra Kumar said he was extremely proud of the award win, which recognised the efforts of the entire QantasLink team.“QantasLink has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1949 when it was a one aircraft operationbased in Tamworth. Today QantasLink is Australia’s largest regional carrier operating 57 aircraft to support anetwork of 56 metropolitan and country destinations and providing customers with seamless connections toQantas’ domestic and international services.”“As a service-focused airline, QantasLink teams work collaboratively with regional Australian communities toidentify and enhance air services in markets that require this essential service for both commerce and leisure,” he said.“In recent times QantasLink has made large-scale investments in product and aircraft to service the needs ofour customers. Many of our services have become critical elements of regional customer supply chains,transporting labour into major resource projects via connections through the extensive Qantas network,” MrKumar said. Mr Kumar will formally accept the award on behalf of QantasLink at an official awards ceremony to be hostedby Air Transport World in Singapore on 13 February 2012.last_img read more

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Etihad wins Worlds Leading Airline Award for seventh consecutiv

Etihad wins Worlds Leading Airline Award for seventh consecutiv

first_imgEtihad wins World’s Leading Airline Award for seventh consecutive yearEtihad Airways has crowned a momentous 2015 by collecting the coveted ‘World’s Leading Airline’ award for the seventh consecutive year at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2015 in Morocco.The airline also picked up the awards for World’s Leading First Class, World’s Leading Inflight Entertainment and World’s Leading Cabin Crew.The four awards end a remarkable year for Etihad Airways, which saw the entry into service of its flagship Airbus A380s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and the introduction of its new livery and uniform.Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Once again, Etihad Airways’ commitment to reimagining flying earned us some of the industry’s highest accolades, including World’s Leading Airline for the seventh year in a row. This is a great reward for the monumental efforts all of us at Etihad Airways have put into making our young and progressive company a global leader of innovation, hospitality and style.“We remain committed to transforming air travel by continuously investing in the best people, products and technology, and in doing so developing a highly acclaimed airline brand into the undisputed provider of superior flying experiences in all cabins of service.”Graham E. Cooke, World Travel Awards Founder and President, said: “It is a tremendous honour for us to present the trophy for World’s Leading Airline to Etihad Airways for an incredible seventh consecutive year.“Our international voters have recognised the United Arab Emirates’ flag-carrier’s commitment to luxurious travel and acknowledged Etihad’s ambition to redefine how airlines operate in the 21st century.“I look forward to discovering what Etihad has in store for 2016 to ensure the carrier remains at the forefront of international aviation. Congratulations to all the team in Abu Dhabi and around the world and the very best of luck for next year.”The awards cap off a successful month for Etihad Airways. On 4 December, the airline was awarded the highly prized Air Transport World (ATW) ‘Airline of the year 2016’ award, widely considered one of the most coveted accolades in the airline industry. Other recent accolades include Best First Class and Best Long Haul Airline Middle-East and Africa at the AirlineRatings.com 2016 Airline Excellence Awards; Best First Class Product by Ultratravel U.S.A. readers in the 2015 Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards (ULTRAs); and Best Airline – Business Class by TTG Travel Awards 2015. Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

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The Boutique Hotel Awards gala dinner 2017

The Boutique Hotel Awards gala dinner 2017

first_imgThe Boutique Hotel Awards gala dinner 2017The Boutique Hotel Awards gala dinner 2017The winners of the Boutique Hotel Awards 2017 were announced last night at the glittering Awards ceremony held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London. The ceremony brought together an array of boutique hotel owners, travel and lifestyle press and travel industry influencers from all four corners of the world, including representatives from CNN Travel, Elite Traveler, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Boat International, Time Out and The Financial Times.This year’s keynote speech was delivered by Wladimir Klitschko, two-time world heavyweight champion boxer and newly turned boutique hotelier. Other esteemed guest presenters and speakers included Juliet Kinsman, founder of BOUTECO, the only independent authority for eco boutique hotels, Elisabeth Visoanska, founder of VISOANSKA PARIS and Paolo Macchiaroli, founder of My Private Villas.Information On The AwardsThe Boutique Hotel Awards is the first and only international awards organisation exclusively dedicated to recognising unique excellence among boutique hotels. The Awards, now in its 7th year, honours the people behind these outstanding properties and bringing together members of The Master Key Society; where relationships are built exclusively among the Award Winners by facilitating hotel exchange visits between them.Awards ProcessWhat makes a Boutique Hotel Award meaningful? Simply put, the hotels and private villas are actually visited. It is the only independent awards organisation in hospitality where each and every property is visited personally by an experienced hotel judge which specialises in each category and too where decisions on winners depend on true first-hand guest experience at the property.The winners were selected from over 600 Nominees in over 80 countries. Each entrant was nominated by a member of the Awards Nomination Committee, comprised of 70 leading trailblazing travel experts whose business it is to be in the know on the extraordinary boutique hotels. The Awards then coordinate hundreds of judge evaluation visits to each shortlisted nominee. The judges document all aspects of the guest experience covering five categories; dining and entertainment, design, facilities, location and most importantly staff service and overall emotional impact. These extensive hand-written evaluations are finally pored over by our Awards Panel who decide our regional and World’s Best Award winners.Quotes From The Night‘It’s difficult to be different’ ‘We need a team, we need allies with whom we share our experience and learn from each other. I’m proud to be part of this family’– Wladimir Klitschko, Owner of 11 Mirrors, keynote speaker 2017‘We believe that luxury hospitality can be a force for good and that we can have a positive effect on the future.It’s not just about where we stay – it’s about how those hotels make us feel and the people, the visionaries, the individuals behind those hotels their attention to detail and the passion that creates extraordinary experience honour and privilege to be hear with the heavy weights of our industry’– Juliet Kinsman, Founder of  BOUTECOPresenting this years awards has been an absolute joy. Just to witness the warmth and camaraderie of the all these eccentric hotel owners who have come from all over the globe for this annual gathering is amazing.– Christabel Milbanke, Travel Writer and Editor of The London JournalistI’m humbled to accept this award and want to congratulate everyone in the room for their achievements. On behalf of all our team in South Africa, we’re honoured to be here and are inspired to be different and unique as you all are.– Paul Kinney, Owner of Akademie Street Boutique Hotel, World’s Best Boutique Hotel 2017The 2017 World’s Best Category Winners are listed below.World’s Best Boutique HotelAkademie Street Boutique Hotel, South AfricaWorld’s Best Beach or Coastal Hotel                             Qualia, Whitsundays, AustraliaWorld’s Best City Hotel                                                    The Serras Hotel, Barcelona, SpainWorld’s Best Classic Hotel                                               The Chester Grosvenor, EnglandWorld’s Best Culinary Hotel                                            Vila Joya, Algarve, PortugalWorld’s Most Inspired Design Hotel                             Ca Maria Adele, Venice, ItalyWorld’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway                             Carpe Diem, Santorini, GreeceWorld’s Best New Hotel                                                    Kensho, Mykonos, GreeceWorld’s Best Relaxation Retreat                                     Castello Di Guarene, ItalyWorld’s Most Romantic Hotel                                         Aenaon Villa, GreeceWorld’s Most Sustainable Hotel                                     Cottar’s Safari Lodge, Nairobi, KenyaWorld’s Best Wellness Spa                                               Lefay Resort & Spa, Gargnano, ItalyWorld’s Best Private Villa                                                Over Yonder Cay, The Bahamas AND                                                                                               Coco Prive, Kuda Hithi Island, MaldivesThe 2018 Boutique Hotel Awards are now open.To nominate your favourite boutique hotels, find out about participating in the Awards, and read the reviews of all the winners go to:http://www.boutiquehotelawards.com/Source = Boutique Hotel Awardslast_img read more

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Curaçao launches online Embarkation and Disembarkation card

Curaçao launches online Embarkation and Disembarkation card

first_imgThe online version of the Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED-card) has been launched by the Curaçao Tourist Board together with the Immigration Department of Curaçao. Completing the form digitally has two main goals namely, a fast and efficient process at the immigration line and immediate processing of the visitor’s data.It is mandatory for foreign visitors in Curaçao to have a completed ED-card for immigration clearance. Travellers can now obtain the ED-card on board of the flights arriving to Curaçao. This card contains personal information, such as name and birth date, port of embarkation, home address, purpose of visit, the reason for choosing Curaçao, how reservation was made, duration of visit and the chosen accommodation during stay.With the online card, the time spent in the immigration line will be reduced. The Online ED-card will be in sync with the Border Management System of the Immigration Department in Curaçao.To access the online ED-card, one has to visit www.curacao.com and click on the tab ‘Online ED-card’.last_img read more

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Credit Officers Speak Out in Fed Survey

Credit Officers Speak Out in Fed Survey

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Credit Officers Speak Out in Fed Survey Credit officers are weighing in on the current state of the markets, credit terms, securities financing, and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives in a recent opinion survey.[IMAGE]The “”Federal Reserve’s””:www.federalreserve.gov/ September poll, dubbed the “”Senior Credit Officer Opinion Survey on Dealer Financing Terms””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/releases/scoos.htm, evaluated multiple aspects of the present credit climate to determine what those working in the mortgage industry day-to-day are saying about recent changes initiated on Capitol Hill.The Fed’s survey also examined funding markets for “”Treasury””:www.treasury.gov/ securities, risk appetites, and the utilization of leverage and financing of assets traded by real estate investment trusts. Twenty-one financial institutions participated in the poll, which took place between August 22 and September 2 and focused on alterations that occurred between June and August of this year.The results were mixed, and a broad look at credit availability demonstrated no definitive direction in terms of easing versus tightening credit, which is a departure from June’s findings that showed an overall loosening of credit across the board. Seventy-five percent of dealers reported an increase in the resources and time being spent on handling the exposure to other dealers and financial intermediaries, and 50 percent said they were also contributing more attention to central counter-parties or other financial utilities.OTC derivatives drew little change from the poll conducted in June, with non-price terms and re-negotiated OTC derivatives master agreements staying static. [COLUMN_BREAK]Initial margin requirements remained stable as well, with little movement among underlying collateral types for average and favored consumers.Securities financing queries showed a general tightening of terms, representing an alteration from June numbers which indicated greater easing of terms. Additionally, dealers demand for funding corporate bonds and agency and non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) was on the uptick during the survey period. In contrast to previous 2011 results, respondents noted a deterioration of the liquidity and functioning in the markets as it relates to the collateral types included in the survey.The Fed’s look at funding for U.S. Treasury securities demonstrated minimal change, but participants did indicate a drop in requests to fund those types of securities, as well as downward movement in liquidity and functioning of the market. Questions dealing with the current risk environment showed that dealers’ clients were becoming somewhat more risk averse, with a more significant decline seen among those related to hedge funds. Around 50 percent of dealers saw a rise in hedge funds attempting to negotiate more-favorable price and non price terms.Leverage within the REIT sector was shown to increase slightly during the survey based on results from the start of 2011. Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, pension plans, and endowments also demonstrated static numbers in terms of price and non price credit terms and leverage.The Fed has been conducting these types of surveys since June of 2010, and while the structure of the survey remains largely consistent, additional detail was added to September’s coverage to better evaluate certain types of counter parties and collateral offerings. Questions covering the OTC derivatives were also changed somewhat in a nod to the market’s current practice of using master agreements, specific to material credit terms and applicable throughout many types of transactions. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Treasury Department 2011-10-13 Abby Gregorycenter_img October 13, 2011 399 Views Sharelast_img read more

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Mortgage Fraud Risk Rises in Second Quarter Interthinx

Mortgage Fraud Risk Rises in Second Quarter Interthinx

first_img After remaining steady in the first quarter of the year, the “”Interthinx Mortgage Fraud Risk Index””:http://www.interthinx.com/pdf/12_Q2MFRR_073012_FNL.pdf rose again in the second quarter, climbing about 7 percent over the three-month period. [IMAGE]Nevada and Arizona are the riskiest two states, followed by Florida, New Jersey, and Georgia, which made its way to the top five list for the first time since Interthinx began tracking mortgage fraud in 2009. Georgia took the place of California, which has been on the top five list since the inception of the index. The state didn’t move far down the list though; it now takes the No. 6 spot. Several California metros remain high on the list for various categories of risk. For example, the top ten list for employment/income fraud risk is made up of nine California metros. [COLUMN_BREAK]The only other state to place on the list is Honolulu, Hawaii, which took the No. 9 spot. A California metro also took the No. 1 spot in identity fraud risk. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara placed first with an index score 20 percent higher than the No. 2 metro. New York City is continuing to experience growing identity fraud risk. At the end of last year, New York City ranked 17th for identity fraud; the city is now ranked 6th. Nationwide, about 91 metropolitan statistical areas are now categorized as “”very high risk,”” up from 63 metros in the first quarter. Among these 91, the riskiest metro is Chattanooga, where mortgage fraud risk rose by more than 30 percent over the quarter. California and Florida metros round out the next nine riskiest metros, and Mobile, Alabama takes the No 10 spot. The most common types of fraud varies somewhat by property type. Condominiums currently rank higher for identity fraud risk, employment/income fraud risk, and just slightly higher for occupancy fraud risk. However, single-family homes rank higher for property valuation fraud risk. The greatest difference is seen in employment/income fraud risk, where condominiums rank 24.4 percent higher. Interthinx predicts Arizona and Nevada will continue to experience high incidences of mortgage fraud. Mortgage Fraud Risk Rises in Second Quarter: Interthinx in Data, Government, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-08-08 Krista Franks Brockcenter_img August 8, 2012 427 Views Sharelast_img read more

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Fannie Mae Economy to Make a Comeback in Second Quarter

Fannie Mae Economy to Make a Comeback in Second Quarter

first_imgFannie Mae: Economy to Make a Comeback in Second Quarter March 23, 2015 493 Views Economic Outllook Fannie Mae Home Sales 2015-03-23 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, Newscenter_img Share The first quarter of 2015 experienced slow economic growth due to “temporary factors,” but the economy is expected to make a comeback starting in the second quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Research Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s March 2015 Economic Outlook released Monday.Notably, the slower economic growth did not deter Fannie Mae’s prediction that the economy will “drag housing upward” in 2015.”The economy is getting a boost from the strong employment numbers we’ve seen last year and at the start of 2015,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “When this employment growth partners with income growth and consumers experience a rise in their personal household income, we should see a similar boost in the housing sector. Overall, we expect an improving 2015 with continued economic growth bringing housing above 2014 levels.”The temporary factors that slowed economic growth include a drawdown in inventory, unusually high snowfall in some parts of the country, and the West Coast port slowdown. Fannie Mae expects the reducing of those factors in the second quarter combined with upbeat labor market conditions and positive consumer and business fundamentals to push GDP growth to 2.8 percent in 2015, ahead of 2014’s pace of 2.4 percent.The downside risks to growth include slowing global growth abroad, geopolitical events, and increased financial volatility due to speculation around the target Fed funds rate, according to Fannie Mae.Fannie Mae’s report indicated that housing started off 2015 as “flattened at best or weakened” in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, which supported an earlier prediction made by Fannie Mae. Single-family starts declined sharply from December to January, as did existing home sales, while new home sales remained flat. Pending home sales picked up, and loan performance improved – in fact, Fannie Mae pointed out the correlation between the labor market improvements and the sharply lower rate of early-stage delinquency loans.Meanwhile, the U.S. labor market experienced net job gains of 295,000 in February and has a three-month average of 288,000; the 3.3 million jobs created in the last year are the most since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage gains were muted, however, with an increase in the average hourly wage of just 3 cents from January to February (up to $24.78). While the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate (5.5 percent) since 2008, the labor force participation (62.8 percent) is just one-tenth higher than a three-decade low point, according to Fannie Mae’s report.Duncan indicated in Fannie Mae’s report that the Agency’s forecast for housing is little changed from the previous forecast, in which he stated that stronger housing recovery will follow stronger wage growth, which he expects to occur.”Housing also should receive an additional tailwind in the mortgage market,” Duncan wrote. “The Fannie Mae Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey showed that lenders believed that lending standards have eased, and the February Fannie Mae National Housing Survey showed that a record high percentage of consumers believed that it is easy to get a mortgage.”last_img read more

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Aspen Grove Solutions Appoints Mike Jurkovic as VP Business Services

Aspen Grove Solutions Appoints Mike Jurkovic as VP Business Services

first_img Maryland-based property technology solutions provider, Aspen Grove Solutions, has announced the appointment of industry veteran Mike Jurkovic as VP, Business Services. In his new role, Jurkovic will be a key point of contact with servicers/lenders and third party providers to expand existing and new partnerships utilizing Aspen’s proprietary property servicing platform, Aspen iProperty to create synergies and frictionless end-to-end property-servicing solutions.In his previous role Jurkovic worked with Black Knight Financial Services for 15 years where he worked closely with servicers and their third-party service providers across all aspects of mortgage default servicing. Jurkovic is a member of REOMAC and has actively participated in the USFN, ALFN, REOMAC, Five Star Institute, MBA, and National Property Preservation Conference events over the years.“We are delighted to welcome Mike to the team. Mike’s experience, knowledge and expertise helping mortgage servicers and their third-party service providers over the years, will help Aspen and our customers to provide the best solutions to manage the asset,” said Sean Ryan, CEO of Aspen Grove Solutions.Aspen has been providing technology solutions to the mortgage default services industry since 1997. It’s products include a property servicing platform focusing on solutions to manage everything related to the Property Asset, as well as Aspen’s Property Servicing platform is unique to the industry. The company also provides servicers with tools to manage default operations while addressing industry problems such as cost control and recovery, investor allowable management and gathering of claim data, elimination of bill-backs, vendor oversight, compliance and reputational risk, quality control, and community safety. February 1, 2018 670 Views Share Aspen Grove Solutions Lenders Mike Jurkovic Property Asset Servicing solutions 2018-02-01 Radhika Ojhacenter_img Aspen Grove Solutions Appoints Mike Jurkovic as VP Business Services in News, Technologylast_img read more

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What Housing Bubble

What Housing Bubble

first_imgWhat Housing Bubble? in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, Origination Home prices have been on the rise for quite some time, but home sales are now on the decline. The economy is strong with unemployment at historic lows, but some are pointing to an economic slowdown. Is the housing bubble about to burst? Definitely not, according to Ralph DeFranco, Global Chief Economist Mortgage Services at Arch Capital Services, Inc.There’s no bubble to burst, he says.“The housing market is caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between poor affordability on one side and on the other, a strong economy teamed up with a tight supply of homes,” he said in Arch Capital Services’ Winter 2019 Housing and Mortgage Market Review.However, after persistent and steep price inclines, DeFranco says now, “The shift in the balance of power is clear. An undeniable slowdown has arrived, particularly in the least affordable areas.”But take heart. It’s not a bubble bursting. DeFranco says “there’s no need to panic. The evidence suggests we are only moving from a market that strongly favors sellers to a market more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers.”In fact, DeFranco expects home prices to continue to grow this year, despite rising interest rates. Overall, he expects prices to rise between 2 and 5 percent over the year. However, price changes will vary widely at the market-level.Housing markets with large retirement communities, near the water, and metros that attract professionals and foreign buyers will continue to experience price growth in the coming year; while markets that have experienced the steepest price increases in the past few years, markets that are currently weak, areas with economies reliant on the energy sector, and former industrial centers may experience price declines, according to DeFranco.The quarterly Arch MI Risk Index, which measures where home prices are most likely to fall over the next two years, determined that at the national level home prices have a 6 percent chance of declining over the next two years. This compares to a historic average of 17 percent.The 10 states where prices have the highest probability of declining are:AlaskaWest VirginiaConnecticutNorth DakotaTexasWyomingColoradoOklahomaMississippiIdahoAlaska has the greatest probability of falling home prices with a 27 percent chance, according to Arch MI’s data. West Virginia follows with a 19 percent chance.Six of the states listed in the top 10 list are experiencing “the lingering effects of slowdown in the energy-extraction sector and weaker energy prices,” according to Arch MI.Taxes are the culpable factor in Connecticut’s placement in the top 10 as the state has high costs and high taxes compared to many others, and Arch MI anticipates the state “may suffer disproportionally from new federal tax limitations on state and local tax deductions.”Lastly, Colorado and Idaho placed in the top 10 mainly due to the higher-than-normal home prices in these states currently.Aside from overall continued price growth, albeit uneven and with some exceptions, DeFranco pointed out a few other expectations for the housing market in 2019.One is that millennials will continue to be a determining factor in which markets are the “hottest.” Prices will rise most in areas favored by millennials.Rising home prices, alongside increasing mortgage rates, will take a toll on affordability. DeFranco said that with the economy performing well and the “tax cut adding an oddly timed and only temporary stimulus,” the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates this year.Also, credit risk will increase this year as credit continues to loosen and the mortgage industry continues its trend toward loans with higher debt-to-income and loan to value ratios. Loosening credit may drive increased demand in the housing market.In the meantime, the housing supply shortage is not likely to subside any time soon, according to the report. Sharecenter_img January 14, 2019 2,624 Views Affordability Arch MI Arch MI risk index Home Prices 2019-01-14 Krista Franks Brocklast_img read more

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Carrington Property Services Acquired by Consolidated Analytics

Carrington Property Services Acquired by Consolidated Analytics

first_img California-based Consolidated Analytics, a provider of property valuation, loan due diligence, mortgage fulfillment, and advisory services for the real estate finance industry announced its acquisition of Carrington Property Services (CPS), a provider of third-party REO asset management, rental management, and valuation services.The transaction, which was finalized on February 1, 2019, broadens Consolidated Analytics’ scope of services and enhances its value proposition to its lender, GSE, servicer, and capital markets clients. The move supports the company’s long-term growth plan centered on providing the real estate finance industry with a one-stop services solution.”Mortgage industry participants are looking for a streamlined, scalable, and centralized way to effectively evaluate and manage their real estate assets,” said Arvin Wijay, CEO at Consolidated Analytics. “The acquisition of CPS boosts our infrastructure, resources, technology, and support functions, which will improve productivity and accelerate returns at every aspect of the asset management lifecycle.”In recent years, Consolidated Analytics has taken significant steps to develop its mortgage services platform by expanding its internal operations, technology and service capabilities, and by making strategic acquisitions including the acquisition of Equitable Mortgage Solutions, a mortgage fulfillment provider, and OpEXNow, a mortgage operations advisory firm. The acquisition of CPS cements the company’s leadership position in the property valuation and management space and significantly augments its due diligence capabilities for non-performing loan buyers.The acquisition of CPS was financed by investments from affiliates of Eos Partners, L.P. and Seal Rock Partners—two New York-based private investment firms— that have partnered with the Consolidated Analytics’ management team to support the company’s growth strategy.”By reinvesting in our business, we can offer our clients more value, improved execution, and better customer experience,” said Rudy Zabran, Chief Revenue Officer at Consolidated Analytics. “We have carefully planned out our growth path to ensure our clients stand to gain the most. in Headlines, News Arvin Wijay Carrington Property Services Consolidated Analytics Rudy Zabran 2019-02-06 Donna Joseph February 6, 2019 1,113 Views center_img Share Carrington Property Services Acquired by Consolidated Analyticslast_img read more

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Warren Buffett Where Wells Fargos CEO Search Should Turn

Warren Buffett Where Wells Fargos CEO Search Should Turn

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Warren Buffett: Where Wells Fargo’s CEO Search Should Turn April 8, 2019 843 Views berkshire hathaway tim sloan Warren Buffett Wells Fargo 2019-04-08 Seth Welborncenter_img Following Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan’s announcement of his retirement, Wells Fargo will be in need of a new CEO. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett stated that Wells Fargo should look outward in their search.“They just have to come from someplace (outside Wells) and they shouldn’t come from Wall Street. They probably shouldn’t come from JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs,” Buffett told the Financial Times.“There are plenty of good people to run it (from the Wall Street banks), but they are automatically going to draw the ire of a significant percentage of the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, and that’s just not smart,” Buffett stated.Allen Parker, Wells Fargo’s General Counsel, will serve as interim CEO and President while the bank searches for a long-term replacement.“In my time as CEO, I have focused on leading a process to address past issues and to rebuild trust for the future,” Sloan said in a statement. “We have made progress in many areas and, while there remains more work to be done, I am confident in our leadership team and optimistic about the future of Wells Fargo.” He added that his resignation came in part because “our ability to successfully move Wells Fargo forward from here will benefit from a new CEO and fresh perspectives. For this reason, I have decided it is best for the Company that I step aside and devote my efforts to supporting an effective transition.”Sloan had recently appeared before Congress himself, addressing the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the bank’s progress in providing reparations related to past scandals and how the bank is working to improve its culture and better serve its customers.The hearing stemmed back to 2016, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Los Angeles City Attorney fined Wells Fargo Bank collective penalties of $185 million for opening millions of deposit and credit-card accounts in customers’ names without their consent or knowledge. The CFPB and OCC imposed the bank with civil money penalties and demanded restitution to harmed customers.In this month’s hearing, Sloan claimed the bank has worked toward a change in leadership, culture, and practices. He pointed out that Wells Fargo has created the required ethics training for all team members titled “Change for the Better.” He also added that he “cannot promise perfection” but suggested that the changes implemented will act as a deterrent to further issues. “We’ve made fundamental changes,” Sloan said. “I can give personal assurance the bank will comply with consent decrees.” Sharelast_img read more

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Renowned Tasmanian architects Stuart Tanner and Cr

Renowned Tasmanian architects Stuart Tanner and Cr

first_imgRenowned Tasmanian architects Stuart Tanner and Craig Rosevear have collaborated on the vision. A contemporary wing-shaped design sits gently on the contour of the dramatic coastal landscape. Materials including stone, wood and concrete create an aesthetic true to the world’s best cool climate lodges, while each of its 20 suites deliver views of the Tasman Sea and breathtaking wilderness.The Great Room is the hub of guest activity, and incudes a guest-only restaurant and bar, open fire and expansive terrace. Below is a bunker-style retreat with dedicated spa and indoor-outdoor swimming pool. Guests can explore Crescent Bay or take a short walk to Basket Bay and Remarkable Cave. A program of signature experiences of the destination will be developed, including a visit by water to the Port Arthur historic site, wilderness walks and a raft of marine adventures. Baillie LodgesTasmania Baillie Lodges has the go-ahead to start creating its luxury wilderness retreat on Tasmania’s rugged southeast coast – Remarkable Lodge. Owners James and Hayley Baillie and their four young sons were joined by Premier of Tasmania, Will Hodgman. on the lodge site at Crescent Bay to make the announcement yesterday. The $20 million Remarkable Lodge will be the fourth property in the Baillie Lodges Australian luxury lodges portfolio when it is completed in 2020. Remarkable Lodge will rest on its own spectacular headland, offering sea views extending to Tasman Island and Cape Pillar, home to the Southern Hemisphere’s highest vertical sea cliffs, as well as waterfalls, fascinating rock formations, archways and deep-sea caves. The 43-hectare privately-owned property adjoins the Tasman National Park, promising a diverse range of adventures for guests. The Park is home to an abundance of wildlife including hundreds of seals, migrating whales, dolphins and sea birds. Visitors witness a frenzy of diving gannets, magnificent albatross and sea eagles, cormorants and peregrine falcons.last_img read more

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